History of the Salaryman: Episode 7
My stomach still hurts from laughing so hard. I can’t help but love a show where the traditional drama makeover scene gets a makeover, and where the hero suddenly finds himself unable to lie at the most hilariously inappropriate times. History of the Salaryman, why are you so awesome? Surely we don’t deserve you.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Bang does some bug-checking of his own on Hang-ryang, and soon enough they’re driving away to a remote meeting location. Yeo-chi is following in Woo-hee’s car close behind, but Hang-ryang is no idiot and notices straight away, using a sudden exit to lose the tail. She’s no fool either, and makes a call to the police that she’s turning herself in (but of course, they have to come to get her) while she takes the case Bun-kwae gave them to follow on foot.
Meanwhile, the Official Stock-Selling Meeting is going on between Jang Cho and Chun Ha. Since Bum-jeung and Hang-woo are now working together, they both muse that getting their respective chairmen to agree on a selling/buying price will be tough due to both men’s extensive pride. So they devise a plan to respectively lowball/highball both Chairman Jin and Chairman Oh in order for both parties to think they’re getting a bargain at $35 a share. It’s pretty ingenious, and the plan goes off without a hitch.
Bang and Hang-ryang stop the car in a deserted field in order to have their little chat. Brandishing the fake resignation letter (that Hang-ryang believes to be his real letter), Bang punches Hang-ryang in the face so he can smear blood on the envelope in order to further damn the evidence. Hang-ryang is sure he has the upper hand in this conversation, as he’s secretly been recording everything. He calls Bang out on manipulating the murder evidence and reveals the recorder, keeping Bang away from it with a live taser as he demands that the drug be handed over.
“And if I can’t? Are you going to kill me?” Bang asks. Hang-ryang replies, “Like Jin Ho-hae, you’ll die by my hands too.” He claims that he’s executing the perfect crime, pleased that he has Bang on the ropes, until Bang reveals that he’s been recording the whole conversation too…
…Which is when we pan to reveal Yeo-chi, standing triumphantly behind the car with the directional microphone pointed straight at them. She’s all smiles as they’ve now got the evidence to clear their name.
The police arrive soon after to arrest Yeo-chi, but she protests her innocence and asks them to listen to the confession. The jig is up for Hang-ryang and everyone knows it – and though Bang took the key from his car to prevent him from escaping, Hang-ryang has a spare in the glove compartment and drives off before the police can stop him.
Even though Hang-ryang has made a run for it, Yeo-chi is still elated. They’ve shed their false accusations, and that’s what matters. She jumps for joy and goes to Bang for a victory hug… but her phone rings, and he’s completely oblivious as he pats her down to grab it and answer. Woo-hee’s on the other end, bearing news that Chun Ha is about to sell their stocks to Jang Cho.
Yeo-chi has adorably lost her spirit in a cute fit of jealousy while Bang is filled with new resolve. They have to save Chun Ha!
While waiting for the new contracts to be printed with the agreed upon price, Hang-woo excuses himself to take a phone call. It’s his cousin-brother Hang-ryang, calling from the edge of a bridge. Uh oh.
The conversation sounds like suicide talk, as Hang-ryang tells Hang-woo to stay the course, even if his hyung can’t be by his side. Sad saxophone music plays as Hang-woo realizes the subtext of the conversation, but there’s nothing he can do as Hang-ryang throws his phone into the ocean.
At the sound of approaching police sirens, Hang-ryang apologizes aloud to Hang-woo before jumping to his death.
Whether Hang-woo realizes his only remaining family member has died or not remains to be seen, as he puts on a firm poker face at the arrival of Bang & Co. walking down the hallway like an approaching army. They’re there to stop Chairman Jin from signing the contract, which is the reason why Hang-woo orders his men to stop them at any cost.
It’s war as both armies collide, and it’s another knock-down, drag-out battle by men in suits, which manages to be funny and serious all at once. It’s like the Golfcourse Sageuk Battle from the first episode, only this time there’s so much more tension as we feel the ticking clock. Chairman Jin is seconds away from putting his seal on the damning contract.
Yeo-chi bravely attempts to use a fire extinguisher as a weapon, only she doesn’t know how to turn the safety off. Ha! Bang takes over, effectively using it to clear a path. It’s pretty epic.
Bang and Yeo-chi arrive just in time to dissuade Chairman Jin from signing the contract, brandishing the bottle of Eternal Youth. Hang-woo immediately calls shenanigans on Bang, claiming that he’s putting up a grand performance and that there’s no way to prove the drug is real. Bang, who’s really been finding his spine these last few episodes, retorts that the drug is an internal matter within the company and that he doesn’t have to prove crap to Hang-woo.
Adorably, Chairman Jin remembers Bang’s name and gives him a happy thumbs-up right before he rips up the contract with Jang Cho. Woo-hee arrives right on time, having done her part by examining the drug. It’s 100% authentic Eternal Youth. Everyone in Chun Ha erupts into cheers, although Bang’s first instinct is to hug Woo-hee instead of Yeo-chi. Her face falls. Awww. Has someone fallen for our hero?
She gets a hug from a proud Grandpa Jin instead, and there’s a nice moment where she smiles at first, clearly caught up in the revelry – before her smile fades as she realizes she’s hugging the grandfather she’s so at odds with. Then she closes her eyes and cries, as though she’s both accepting him and allowing herself to realize that she’s missed him all this time.
Hang-woo gets torn a new one by an angry Chairman Oh, who blames him for everything. “I did my best,” Hang-woo replies – and Chairman Oh guesses that his best wasn’t good enough. He’s the one to walk out on Chairman Oh, leaving the older man fuming.
Meanwhile, Shin has been having to pretend that he’s still going to work in order to fool his wife, and happens upon a busy scene – Hang-ryang’s body has been retrieved from the river, dead. He calls to relate this news to Hang-woo, which Hang-woo bears with tears and silence as he watches the news about his brother-cousin’s death later that night. It seems like he didn’t know Hang-ryang would go so far, so the news of his suicide comes as a great shock.
Bang is cheered at the office like a returning conqueror, his colleagues filled with newfound respect and admiration for him. Everyone knows that he caught the murderer and saved the company – so he’s loaded down with flowers, asked for an interview, selected as employee of the month, chosen as the company magazine’s new cover model, along with being asked to a private dinner with Chairman Jin. Aww. It’s nice that he’s finally getting recognition.
As girls swarm around him for the cover photo, Yeo-chi comes to crash the party and pry them away. Everyone scatters at the sight of her, to which she wonders, “Am I some contagious disease?”
She wonders why no one’s giving her flowers, and Bang offers his like the nice guy he is. That’s not good enough, so she orders him to follow her.
Is this… is this really a makeover scene? A gender-reversed makeover scene?! I can’t believe my eyes. Yeo-chi takes him through the store, loading him down with clothes (and underwear) that she’s clearly buying for him, though he remains totally unaware. He’s getting the works, from shoes to watches, and she’s utterly and completely pleased with herself.
She takes him into a fancy suit store under the pretense of buying her grandfather a suit, but claims that Bang and her grandfather have the same build (ha!) so he should try it on instead.
He does, and boy does he look snazzy! He knows it too, and has a little fun doing James Bond impressions in front of the mirror before he’s delivered a letter left by Yeo-chi. In it, she tells him that everything they bought today is his – and it’s for tonight’s dinner with her grandfather. In case he has pesky pride in the way, she specifically states that the clothes are payment for helping her out during their homeless times and that she’ll be insulted if he tries to return them.
And our dear Bang, so unlike the drama heroines usually on the receiving end of a makeover, happily embraces all of his new things. It’d be rude to return them anyway, so why not enjoy?
Hang-woo chooses to deal with his grief through alcohol, and Bum-jeung is there to try and snap him out of it. When he won’t sober up immediately, Bum-jeung drags him into the shower to give him a stern talking-to. (Am I the only one who’s a bit uncomfortable here?)
Bum-jeung claims that he feels responsible to Hang-woo because of his close relationship with Hang-woo’s deceased father, who was like a teacher to him. Basically, he’s fanning the vengeance flames in Hang-woo so that he’ll continue in his crusade against Chairman Jin, since Bum-jeung stands to gain if Chairman Jin falls.
Hang-woo tells him that it’s over, and that it’s now impossible for him to enter Chun Ha. Bum-jeung tells him that he has to try, because if he can accomplish that much, then bringing Chairman Jin down won’t be so impossible either.
Left alone, Hang-woo sinks to the floor and sobs.
Bang has arrived for his fancy VVIP dinner with Chairman Jin, and Yeo-chi is there to greet him. She offers him her hand, telling him that it’s etiquette to escort a lady… only he drops her the second he sees Woo-hee. She shyly explains that Yeo-chi invited her and bought her the dress, to which Yeo-chi replies (through gritted teeth) that she always repays her debts.
Gabi is there to warn them that they must not speak unless spoken to, that they must adhere to proper dinner etiquette at all times… and above all, they must not mention anything about being bald – because Chairman Jin wears a wig and it’s a hot-button issue for him. I get the feeling that this isn’t going to go well.
When Yeo-chi once again offers her hand, Bang takes it to escort her… except he takes Woo-hee’s hand too, because he’s just been told that it’s proper etiquette. Aww. Poor Yeo-chi.
At the dinner table, Bang finds himself unable to take his eyes off Chairman Jin’s wig. Hahaha. He keeps getting questioned by the Chairman on things like the three languages he supposedly knows, how he ended up with Eternal Youth, etc. Each question requires a lie, and each time he lies Bang coughs and looks as if he’s about to faint.
We see the reason why he’s behaving so strangely – a flashback with Woo-hee reveals a conversation she had with Chief Kim over some of the side effects of Eternal Youth. Here’s one we haven’t heard yet: it also gives its users an inability to lie. If they try, they’ll just exhibit flu-like symptoms until they basically pop and word-vomit out only truths.
Chairman Jin wonders if Bang has to go to the hospital, to which Bang replies that it’s the Chairman who should go… to get hair plugs. Everyone’s jaws drop right before Bang drops the big one as he yells, “You’re bald!” Oh my goodness.
Bang does start word-vomiting, spilling the beans about how Hang-ryang got him the job and that he’s just a fake. Even Chairman Jin wonders why Bang wouldn’t just keep quiet about how he got the job, since Hang-ryang is dead. Solemnly, Bang explains that this job is more precious than his life, and that he’s grateful that he could fulfill his dream even for so short a time.
There’s no saving the situation, however, and Chairman Jin swiftly orders Bang’s resignation. Woo-hee, acting on an impulse to save him, smashes a vase onto his hand. He has the expected side effect of laughing at severe pain, which Woo-hee explains as a side effect of Eternal Youth, and that Bang insisted on doing a live-test. (In the middle of all this, Bang keeps saying exactly what he’s thinking, such as: “Why is this place’s steak so bad? Why is it so tough? Are you sure it’s Korean beef?” Ha!)
Chairman Jin agrees when Woo-hee suggests that Bang immediately be taken to one of their research facilities. He orders his men to carry a madly-laughing Bang away, who’s wowed at the sensation of flying he gets from it. “I’m not Superman. I’m just Salaryman. Why am I flying?”
After he’s gone, Yeo-chi entreats Grandpa not to fire him. She explains how he was a friend to her until the end and stuck with her when the going was tough. Grandpa calls her out on her obvious attraction to Bang, which she firmly denies. A man lacking in skills she can forgive, but never a man lacking in looks. Either way, she threatens Grandpa that she’ll unleash her bratty wrath if he fires Bang, which is surely no bluff.
Bang’s in the lab with Woo-hee, who’s busy trying to find out which adverse side effects Bang is suffering from. He’s got increased sex drive, insomnia, lack of appetite… and then he starts to notice Woo-hee’s lips. Then her chest. And as things start getting serious for him, the theme music from Phantom of the Opera plays.
The music swells as he makes grabbing-hands for her chest… only Woo-hee walks away, and Yeo-chi walks in. Adorably, she sees him making the hand gestures and instinctively copies him, though she’s in for a shock when he suddenly wraps his arms around her. He thinks she’s Woo-hee, and keeps his eyes closed as he apologizes for his inability to control himself, it’s just that she’s so pretty… And Yeo-chi, happy for the compliment, allows him to keep embracing her.
Until he calls her Woo-hee.
Aww. I feel bad for Yeo-chi, since this is the third time she’s been spurned in one episode. She’s had it with the whole Woo-hee shebang, and asks him why his arms suddenly fall away as soon as he sees her face. Does he want to die? He looks to Woo-hee as his lifeline to explain the situation so Yeo-chi won’t misunderstand.
The two girls gather for a chat, and Woo-hee specifically tells Yeo-chi not to misunderstand the situation from earlier. Yeo-chi expresses her thanks, because if it weren’t for Woo-hee, “our Yoo Bang” would have been fired. Then again, it’s not like she would have let him lose his job easily.
Woo-hee catches on pretty quick, and it seems like she’s not going to just lie down and take this treatment either. She explains that she owed a lot to Bang, so repaying this much is nothing. In response, Yeo-chi sends her home for the day. She’ll do the rest of the work here – and once Woo-hee is gone, Yeo-chi wonders what exactly makes Woo-hee so much prettier than her in Bang’s eyes.
Later, Woo-hee goes to the gym Hang-woo works out at to see him taking out his angst on a fellow kick-boxer. He’s way too into the match and sets to beating the other man, and he has to be pulled off in order to stop. She watches in dismay, taking the first opportunity to talk to him later – but he only has to give her a Silent Look Of Sorrow in order for her to be taken aback. She wonders what’s wrong with him, since he normally would bicker with her at such a prompting.
Hang-woo goes to visit his brother’s remains, swearing with a somber face that he will exact revenge on the man who did this to him – Yoo Bang. Once outside, he gives Bum-jeung his strategy for infiltrating Chun Ha: ‘replace the beams with rotten timbers’ – which means that he’ll work from within to topple the enemy beam by beam.
Gabi, meanwhile, has been acting as Vice President of Chun Ha by proxy, and is taking her job seriously. None of the men are happy about it, and all talk behind her back about how she should be the one bowing her head to them… but the moment they see her, they end up doing exactly what they didn’t want to. At least they’re embarrassed about their behavior afterward.
Hang-woo puts his brain to good use by apparently solving Chun Ha’s debt, and he takes this solution straight to Chairman Jin. While Bang becomes the hot commodity among everyone vying for the position of Vice President (since he’s the company favorite), Hang-woo spins a web that will inevitably trap Chairman Jin into accepting him into the company.
With the simple claim that he can single-handedly solve their company’s debt crisis in one fell swoop, it looks like Chairman Jin believes him.
The next day, Bang is crestfallen to find that the personnel transfer list has already been posted, as he’s sure he’s lost his job. Bun-kwae, who has been stewing in disbelief over the injustice of Bang rising in favor so fast, drags him over to the board so they can take a look together. He’s probably more shocked than Bang is to find that Bang has not only not been fired… he’s been promoted.
Only Hang-woo is there to crash the party, goading Bang as he’s introduced as the newly-hired General Manager for Chun Ha.
Through the first half of the episode I was wondering where all the funny had gone, but was rewarded in the second half by this show bringing some of the best laughs yet. The dinner scene was a complete riot, and I could barely control myself at Bang’s outbursts. It reminded me of Austin Powers in Goldmember, where he knows he isn’t supposed to talk about some man’s glaring mole, except that only causes him to mention it excessively. Salaryman’s foray into this kind of gag humor was much funnier, just to clarify.
I was surprisingly unmoved by Hang-ryang’s death, and I can’t quite pinpoint why. We didn’t see enough of his character for me to be invested, which happens in dramas often with no problem – but usually I’m invested in whoever experiences the grief of the death. In this case, with all of Hang-woo’s mangst-ing (man+angst), I found his scenes a little harder to get through. I guess there isn’t much of a way to subvert the grief cliches without lessening the impact, though, so we can’t win ’em all.
My favorite thing about this episode was the role-reversal. I literally loved the fact that the male hero was on the receiving end of a makeover, and I’m falling more and more in love with Bang and Yeo-chi together. Thus, I felt pity for her every time Bang’s attentions strayed to Woo-hee, because it’s like when the drama heroes see their love interests go for the nice guy instead of them – and they can’t understand, because they’re giving their all. If this were Boys Over Flowers, for instance, Yeo-chi would be the Gu Jun-pyo to Bang’s Geum Jan-di, with Woo-hee rounding out the triangle as the Yoon Ji-hoo. I’m not talking about personalities as much as traditional character roles, which Salaryman has been delightfully subverting thus far.